Monday, December 04, 2006

I am a believer in red onions. I think a good red onion takes food to a whole new level. It makes a normal ham or turkey sandwich for lunch into a divine repast (add avocado, cucumber, pepper, and a good cheese and it's quite grand). So yesterday I made my roommate's famous bowtie pasta salad for our Sunday dinner, and I had nearly mixed the whole dish when I realized I had forgotten the red onion. With my penchant for perfection, I had to remix with the necessary red onion. I chopped a few slices and dropped them into my overflowing bowl. The more I chopped, the more my eyes began to sting. Finally, I had reached Red Onion Trauma. I could no longer see anything, and I had only added a few thick slices of diced red onion. My sinuses became as clear as they have ever been, and the only escape from Red Onion Trauma I could manage was a hot shower. The salad was a success. Here's the recipe:

Poppy Seed Bow Tie Pasta Salad
1 16-oz. bow tie pasta cooked and cooled
1 red pepper sliced (it's fun to use yellow and orange, too)
red onion sliced or chopped (watch out!)
1 can black olives drained
1 can mandarin oranges drained
*sugared pecans (your desired amount)
**poppy seed dressing

Divide dressing in 1/2. Add peppers, onion, olives, oranges, and 1/2 the pecans. Mix with pasta. Add remainder of dressing and pecans on top. Garnish with a slice of pepper.

*To sugar pecans, heat a non-stick pan. When pan is hot sprinkle sugar in pan. Watch for the sugar to melt. When all melted, add pecans and mix. Let cool.

**Poppy seed dressing
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 T. minced onion (again, beware)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
1 tsp. mustard
1 T. poppy seed

Blend ingredients all together in blender/processor for 2 minutes. Sauce will be a little thick.

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